Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 17:45 GMT 18:45 UK
Angola: Desperate days in a town under siege
Young and old are dying every day in Malanje
By Africa Correspondent Jane Standley in Malanje
It was the town they hoped would provide safe refuge from the attacks which had forced them out of their villages.
The town is besieged and the sanctuary has run out of food and medicine. Only the most desperate get help - others have to be turned away every day.
And although the aid agencies are trying - they have just returned to Malanje after the shelling kept them out for months - it is hard to get enough supplies in.
The crisis is affecting all those who fled here - young and old are dying.
Many of the elderly people are simply too weary to cook the United Nations food handouts for themselves.
And even if they could summon up the strength, finding firewood means braving the guns and landmines just outside the town.
The UN, which is warning of a humanitarian disaster in Angola, says at least 200 people are dying every day in the war-ravaged country.
But Angola has known war for 40 years and these people have grown up knowing nothing else. They feel the world has turned its back on them.
And they may be right; aid donors have given the UN less than a third of the money it needs to keep them alive.
Only the most desperate in Malanje get help - others have to be turned away every day.
Meanwhile, on the government front line young conscripts are fighting rebels from Unita - who control half the country - in what used to be an ideological Cold War conflict, but which is now a battle for Angola's great riches of diamonds and oil.
In their hours of need there has always been another crisis somewhere else.
And once again, the world is looking the other way.